In the Gulf of California, off the coast of La Paz, Mexico, lies a mysterious world where searing hot water spews out of 80-foot-tall (24 meters) mounds and iridescent worms inch along the seafloor. Scientists recently discovered this hydrothermal wonderland, and as they explored the area, they also found at least six potential new animal species that haven’t been seen before.

The international team, which included scientists from both the U.S. and Mexico, conducted the recent expedition aboard a 272-foot-long (83 m) research vessel called the Falkor, according to a statement from the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI). From the ship, the team deployed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), named SuBastian, to collect samples of hydrothermal vent fluid, mud, rocks and marine life and to take ultra-high definition videos. And using a sonar system on the ship, the team mapped out regions of the seafloor that will be explored more closely on future cruises.



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